Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Well, you're not exactly Superman but you're awfully available.

Fashion inspiration post!

So I'm going to warn you that this is one of my loose inspirations. I absolutely love the outfit Vera Ellen wears in White Christmas (1954) when she proposes to Danny Kaye's Phil Davis. I love the wide circle skirt and the black top, pulled together with the red belt. So classy! 

I did my own version of that - instead of Vera Ellen's black and white gingham skirt, I have a black and grey plaid. And I didn't have a white turtle neck so I just went with the v-neck black top. And paired it with a red skirt. 





Sunday, December 10, 2017

Horseradish.

My goodness. One week into my whole "I'm going to post twice a week" and I missed the second post. Ah well. Another week, another try. I'm going to also attempt to give myself a pass since it is December. However, I'm one of those people who fills up her schedule with events and plans at every opportunity. And then I yearn for quiet times. It's a bit silly. Anyway...

I've been on a bit of a sappy Christmas movie binge lately. You know, the hallmark channel flavor of Christmas movies. They're completely over the top and ridiculous. Usually about a character (typically a woman) who doesn't understand the true meaning of Christmas and comes to discover it after falling in love. Yadayadayada. I realize a lot of people truly enjoy these and cry and revel in them. So, I shall attempt not to be too scathing. But, I do enjoy making fun of them. I even made a bingo board to check off as I watch them!

I took a break tonight from my recent programming to watch a good, solid classic. I sort of jumped the gun on Christmas movies this year so now I'm trying to pace myself. Tonight, I watched Christmas in Connecticut (1945). I love this movie!



If you've never seen it, the premise is that Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is a writer who pens a popular article about cooking and her life in her farm in Connecticut with her husband and baby. The hitch is that she's actually a single woman, living in New York City with no baby, no farm, and no idea how to cook. When her publisher invites a war hero to her farm for Christmas, Elizabeth has to think fast on how she's going to come up with a farm, a husband, and a baby in time.



I love this movie. I love Elizabeth, I love Jefferson Jones. I love Uncle Felix. And there are so many good quotes!!



This is a movie I discovered from other bloggers. It's a Christmas tradition I started as an adult. And I love it!



Do any of you have favorites you discovered via blogs?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

That's what I just said

First post of December!

I'm going to a crafting post today. Why? Because I already have a craft to share. Convenient, eh?

One thing I've discovered about myself as an adult is that I love word art. I'm guessing it has something to do with my addiction to movies and how I tend to watch movies over and over again until I have them memorized. Depending on who I'm with, quoting movies can integrate seamlessly into the way I talk (when I'm with my sisters especially). Even when I'm with people who I know won't get the references, I still quote movies and then explain them to my friends (My friends are really quite patient people). So, it stands to reason that any art I create tends to have words involved - paintings, coasters, even embroidery often includes quotes.

So, when I was working through the A-Z crafting project last year, I decided on P for Painting and made up a piece. This is one of my favorite jokes in White Christmas (1954) and it's a line my sisters and I often quote when we talk about the movie.



For the background, I decided to use the little fake mountain scene the characters create in the dining car when they sing "Snow." I was always intrigued by that scene when I was younger because it took me years to catch the moment when Phil and Betty create it. And I always thought it was a crazy how fast the little sculpture appeared.


Anyone else make art based on movie quotes?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Where do we go from here?

Well, guys, I did it! I blogged every day for 30 days! Woohoo! And I have you to thank for it. Thank you for the views, for the comments, for the love. Seeing those stats really kept me going, I can certainly tell you.

 I mean, look at those numbers! That's incredible!

As I hinted in an earlier post this week, this challenge was... well, challenging. Blogging every day wasn't bad but finding time to blog every day and making sure I had crafts and outfits and interesting recipes each week - that was pretty stressful.


However, the challenge did accomplish what I'd hoped it would: I was able to try out all of the things I wanted to test on this blog. And I found out that I really enjoyed it! So, here is how I think this will blog will look going forward:


  • I will continue to post semi-regularly. My plan is to start off with posts twice a week.
  • I'm going to keep all of the segments I tested out this month, although they may not fall on certain days. But, you will continue to see outfit posts, craft posts, recipes, reviews, picture posts, spotlight posts.
  • Instead of week-long themes, I'd like to expand to month-long themes. Switching to twice weekly posts means I'll average 8 posts a month, so I figure I'll have 1 outfit post, 1 craft post, 1 recipe post, 1 movie review, 1 picture post, 1 spotlight post, 1 throwback post, and 1... bonus! All surrounding the same movie, theme, or person (if possible).
  • I'd like to start incorporating some guest posts as well. I'm not as engaged in the blogging community as I used to be so it might be difficult to find other bloggers, but I may start asking family and friends to do write ups on their favorite movies or performers - stuff like that.
And I'd like to turn it to you, dear readers. What would you like to see more of on this blog? 

Tomorrow is my birthday and I will be taking a break until early next week. Until then, thank you so very much for reading and for going with me on this journey. I appreciate it more than I could possibly say!


Stay tuned for a month of holiday themed posts!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

30 Before 30

So, for today's Way Back Wednesday post, I'm going to get very, very wordy and very personal. And it won't pertain a whole heap to classic movies. I just want to warn you of that right now.

I'm turning 30 on Friday. Early this year, I considered starting a 30 before 30 list to see what I could accomplish but so many of them were pretty silly. Just because some random writer prizes certain experiences, it doesn't mean I need to experience them too. So, I kept putting it off and suddenly it was a few months away and I was struck with the question of whether or not this is where I wanted and expected to be at this point in my life. I won't answer that question because life is so crazy and we're all just bumbling through it, trying to divine its true meaning. So, after considering it on and off, I decided to do a 30 before 30 list of my own. But not 30 things I need to do before 30, but rather 30 things I have done before 30. Some of these may not seem like accomplishments to you and some of them may be silly. But, personal accomplishments are... personal so these are things that I'm proud of.

1. I earned my Bachelor's degree. I would love go back to school and get my Masters some day. But until then, I can be thankful that I was able to get some really good schooling and wonderful experiences under my belt when I went to college.
2. I published two novellas. You can buy them, in fact! I self-published two e-books and they're available on most ebook platforms. The titles are Sleeping Beauties: The Case of the Worn-Out Dancing Shoes and The Glass Coffin: The Snow White Case. They're fairy tales rewritten as fantasy mysteries set in the 1920's. They were a ton of fun to write and I'm hoping to write and publish more. In the meantime, I'm super proud of myself for doing something I've wanted to do since I was little.



3. I've learned to cook. This was something I wanted to learn for years, but it took a while for me to get to a point where I could brave my fears about ruining food. And now? I love to cook. It relaxes me and it makes me happy. I like eating something delicious and having the unique satisfaction that I made it.
4. I've learned to bake. I'm not quite at the comfort level in baking that I currently enjoy in cooking. And baking still intimidates me. But, after loving The Great British Baking Show, I've started getting bolder about trying my hand at baking. I've made cake, crackers, cookies, brownies. My mom showed me how to bake bread. I even made mini cakes for my friend's Marie Antoinette party. Paul Hollywood would probably have given me a disappointed look and said, "they're a bit of a mess, to be honest." But, they were delicious and they were cute and beautiful and not part of a competition. So I was incredibly proud of them.

I made those! Isn't that amazing?!

5. I started a book club. This is something that I'm extremely proud of. It's a part of my life that I'm certain my childhood self would be pleased to know would happen. I started a book club out of the desire to discover new books on my own terms - I didn't want to be forced to read depressing books or scary books so I started a book club with the simple rule: all books must end happily. And people joined! I love it. We meet about once a month and read and discuss books of all genres from children's books to murder mysteries to nonfiction.
6. I found a job that I like and do well. I kind of fell into the job I'm in now. I'm a scheduler. It's not the job I imagined for myself. It isn't romantic or glamorous. But it's a good, steady job. I like my managers and I like my coworkers and I like my work. And I'm pretty good at it, which is a really nice thing. I keep feeling like I need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Being a scheduler was not what I had in mind. But if I'm honest with myself, I'm quite happy where I am. I should like to make enough money to live on my own, but I still count myself very fortunate to have a job that allows me to pay my bills and that I enjoy doing. I also get to leave my work at work and come home to craft and write blogs. And there's a heap of goodness in that.
7. I've gone on a road trip solo. Okay, so it was a road trip from Orlando to Atlanta. But, still. I drove out of state on my own and had a wonderful time. It was a sort of spontaneous trip actually. I had the opportunity to go to the TCM studio in Atlanta and get a tour by the VP of TCM. My friend met up with me once I got there. But it was my first time booking my own hotel, driving out of state, and staying in a hotel in a city where I knew no one. It was truly an adventure.

My friend Brittany and I on the TCM set!

8. I've taken myself out for a nice dinner. Same trip as the one discussed above. On my last night in Atlanta when my friend had already gone home, I took myself to a nice restaurant and spent a good amount of money on dinner for myself. I got wine, dinner, and a dessert. To me, that was major splurging. And I was very particular about not sitting on my phone the whole time so I was able to sit and be full of my own thoughts.
9. I made an outfit inspired by a classic TV show. Well, you all know about that already. But, seriously, guys. This was a dream that was years in the making.


10. I have learned how to sew. I'm not super great at it yet and I've yet to make something without calling my mom for help. But I've actually worked through a few pieces from beginning to end and I'm still eager to keep going. It's a great start!
11. I discovered that I love to embroider. This was one of the best things to come out of the A-Z crafting project my friend and I did last year. No one else in my family embroiders currently so it was so nice to discover something that I love to do without feeling the need to compare my ability to someone else's.
12. I paid off a car. I'm not a great financial whiz. I can't boast a fantastic financial resume. But I have managed to pay off my first car. It's still a great feeling.
13. I have actively invested in self care. A year or two ago, I decided that I liked bubble baths enough to put money into the pastime. I spent about $50 and got myself a bathtub tray, a bathtub pillow, and a waterproof case for my phone. This is something that probably doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment but purchasing things that weren't practical and would probably not be used by anyone else, and weren't food, was a big deal to me. It was a cool thing to invest in me.
14. I have attended a protest. Last November, my friend messaged me and asked if I wanted to go to the Women's March in D.C. with her. That afternoon, she had reserved a hotel and we had both committed. It was exciting and scary at the same time. The event itself was so many things: exciting, scary, exhilarating, empowering, beautiful, inspiring, bittersweet. I truly enjoyed being a part of something so momentous and historic.
My friend, Kayla and I on our way to the Women's March

15. I've traveled outside the country. Here's a picture of me when I went to England a few years ago.


16. I've expanded my palate. I was a pretty picky eater when I was a kid. I was the kid who had chicken tenders at every restaurant I went to. I didn't like seafood, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, nuts, or salad. I'm sure I was a joy to feed. But, when I went to England and stayed with my cousins, they cooked dinner for me and asked if I liked onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. I didn't like any of them but felt incredibly rude saying so, so I lied. And I'm so grateful to past myself for that. Because what they cooked was delicious and I discovered that I love onions and tomatoes and mushrooms. I still don't eat most seafood and I'm not crazy about brussel sprouts. But I love trying new things and I want to like as much food as possible.
17. I've started learning a new language. Part of me wishes I could write "I've learned another language." I've been trying to learn Portuguese for years now. It's a little embarrassing at this point. But the cool thing about language is that even though you lose it if you don't keep practicing, you always know more than you did when you started. So every time I go back to the Portuguese lessons, more concepts click in my head and more and more things make sense. Eventually, some day, I'll speak fluently. In the meantime, I'm still enjoying the process.
18. I've discovered that I love volunteering. The same friend who encouraged me to go the Women's March introduced me to the joys of volunteering. I had wanted to volunteer for a while but I kept feeling that it was more of a duty and probably wouldn't actually be fun. And when I volunteered at a Food Bank, I found it to be stressful and was pretty discouraged about the prospect of doing it all the time. But, I've discovered that volunteering can be fun - you just have to find the right venue that is a cause you believe in, is set up in a way that works for you, and that you enjoy doing.

Just a sample: Kayla and I did a ton of volunteering events last month

19. I have lived on my own. Okay, so I still had a roommate who paid the rent but she moved out early and I was by myself in the apartment for several months. It was pretty heavenly actually. There were things about living on my own that were lonesome. But I liked being fully independent and having no one I had to answer to or run things by or worry about bothering if I stayed up late.
20. I have developed my own perspective on religion. This is kind of a scary thing for me to write about because I haven't told many people in my family but... I was brought up in a very religious household and I'm no longer religious. It isn't something I've come to lightly. I took a religions class in college that affirmed my connection to Christianity and throughout college I attended different churches to see what fit for me. But, gradually, I came to the conclusion that I didn't agree with many of the perspectives in Christianity. I have nothing against the religion or the practitioners - it's simply a personal choice. I'm not ruling out the possibility of change in the future. But, this is where I am now and I've come to peace with it.
21. I have learned how to mix drinks. Clearly these aren't in any particular order. But I have learned how to make a few cocktails that I really like, which is something I'm quite proud of.

22. I've gone on a cruise. I've actually gone on three cruises. They were all TCM Cruises. They were incredibly fun and I wish TCM hadn't retired the Cruise because they were amazing.





It's probably way too small but my friend, Brittany, and I are in the front row of the crowd. Can you see us? Just to the right of Robert Osborne's head!

23. I'm a happy, single woman. In terms of milestones, I definitely had imagined I would at least be in a relationship at this point in my life, if not married. But, life doesn't always work out the way you'd expect. And that's okay. I still like the idea of having a boyfriend/husband. And, yes, I do get lonely. But, for the most part, I'm actually perfectly okay without romantic entanglements. I have a great life where I spend quality time with people I love. Maybe someday I'll find someone who fits into it. Until then, I like my single lifestyle.
This is me at a Rococo-themed party a few weeks back

24. I have started engaging in politics. I'm still exploring the possibilities here but I enjoy the little options for engagement like calling congresspeople about issues I care about, attending town halls, keeping up to date with formats that work for me (my friend got me into the podcast series by Crooked Media which includes, but is not limited to: Pod Save America, Pod Save the World, Lovett or Leave It). I'd like to eventually volunteer on a campaign and possibly get truly engaged by working in politics. Who knows what the future will hold? In the meantime, I'm learning and slowly exploring the potential.



25. I have adopted two cats. Okay, but seriously. I have two creatures that live with me and depend on me for food and safety and they're both healthy and happy cats! Also they're just so adorable.


26. I have started my own traditions. It's little things like making a new Christmas cocktail every year, watching The Miracle on 34th Street on Christmas Eve, cooking an Irish dish on St. Patrick's day, baking a pie on March 14th. I love being an adult and getting to pick out what traditions make me happy.

Christmas Eve tradition

Mu friend, Ashley and I on Pi Day! It's a super important holiday

27. I have found forms of exercise that I enjoy. My uncle once asked me if I worked out and I said I didn't and he said, "Oh, you really should. It's so good for you." He's a doctor so it bothered me for years that I might be disappointing him by not being as healthy as I should be. It was really nice to visit him years later and be able to answer the same question with, "Yes! I go walking every week and I really like to do yoga!" I've even done a 5k. Something I did not expect to say a year ago, even.
28. I have learned several different forms of dancing. I did swing dancing in high school, learned a lot of ballroom in college and now, I'm learning hula! It's awesome. I love it so much that I'm hoping to try different forms of dance in the future, particularly tap and ballet. Even if it's just for a year, I'd like to be able to say that I've tried it.
29. I've built up a life that I like quite a bit. In times of stress, I'll convince myself that things are terrible. But when I'm objective and honest - I really like my life. Yes, I'd like to have less stress about money. Yes, I'd like to travel more. But, I'm near my family. I get to see my family almost every week. I have a wonderful group of friends who are encouraging, positive, creative, brave, inspiring, kind, intelligent people who help me to be the best version of myself. I have a good job that I like. And I get to spend my free time cooking, baking, watching movies, reading books, writing blog posts, writing stories, crafting, creating, and socializing.
30. I have grown into a person that I like quite a bit. This is something I still struggle with as I used to have a pretty big problem with self-loathing and I'm still working through that. But, all in all, I like who I am as a person. I won't list all of the amazing things about myself but I will say that I've grown up to be a person who enjoys growth. I'm growing and changing and expanding due to the experiences I have, the things I learn, the people I interact with. And I really like that. I don't know what the next ten years will be like or where they'll take me. But, as I take stock of what I have and who I am today, I'm excited to step forward into this next phase of my life.


Thank you all for being a part of my journey!

And if you really read all of that, thank you for being so patient with my loquaciousness! This was something I kind of needed to do for myself. I appreciate anyone who tagged along in that journey.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

None of your larking about

For Crafty Tuesday I am, once again, pulling something from my crafting blog to showcase today. I got into embroidery when I was doing a project with my friend, Kat, where we were crafting our way through the alphabet. It was a pretty awesome and pretty difficult project. I learned a lot along the way. I grew a lot along the way. I went from emotional breakdowns over failures (A for Apron) to shrugging them off and moving on (M for Macrame). And I discovered some amazing new crafts that I fell in love with: most notably, embroidery. I absolutely love to embroider. I overdid it last holiday season and got a little burned out so I've been trying to get myself back into it. But it's very fun, easy, and an inexpensive hobby. The first piece I did was a Mary Poppins piece. I'll show you my step by step process below. I will definitely be posting a bunch of embroidery posts on this blog because it is a very fun craft and I feel like it goes very well with my love of movies.



Supplies:
Muslin
Tailor's Marker/Pencil
Embroidery Thread
Embroidery Needle
Scissors
Hoop
Inspiration Image
Clothes pin






I bought plain white muslin (it's usually about $2-5/yard); three different colors of embroidery floss, one for each character and one for the words; a blue water soluble marker; an embroidery hoop; and eventually I invested in a nice pair of embroidery scissors.

I used a clothes pin to pin the fabric to my computer and traced the image onto the fabric with the marker. Being a cautious person, I tested this process on the screen corner but it didn't bleed through the fabric. 


Because the marker comes off easily, I didn't stress about mistakes and so I ended up with multiple lines at certain points. When I was actually stitching, I chose the line that looked best! Doing the words forced me to break out my cursive skills. Those haven't been put to the test in years!

Monday, November 27, 2017

She said, "You're welcome and you could use some lessons."

Yesterday, I watched Bachelor Mother (1939) while I was working on some projects. It was my first time watching it in a long time.



The basic premise, if you've never seen it, is this: Polly Parrish (Ginger Rogers) is mistaken for the mother of a foundling baby. David Niven plays David Merlin, the playboy son of the owner of the department store that Polly works at. David offers to extend Polly's seasonal position at the store into a full time job and offers her a raise so that she can keep the baby. When Polly continues to maintain that the baby is not hers, David threatens to fire her. Polly keeps the baby in order to keep her job and starts an unlikely friendship with David. Things get even more complicated when David's father mistakenly believes that David is the baby's father.



The first time I watched it, I thought it was absolutely hilarious and I couldn't wait to show it around. This time watching it, I still liked it. Ginger Rogers is, of course, brilliant. David Niven is adorable and silly. It's still very funny and there are some wonderful scenes.



However. It's harder to watch this movie than it was the first time I watched it. Maybe it's because women are so often mistrusted and not believed by society today. Maybe it's because I'm more aware of how hard it is for single mothers. Maybe it's because I read a whole book on single women in America and how they affect society and how society views them. Maybe it's because I'm older and have a better appreciation for Polly's life pre-baby. Regardless of the reason, I have a harder time watching the movie where everyone not only disbelieves Polly that the baby isn't hers, but she is bullied and pushed around until she relents and takes the baby in anyway. And even then everyone tells her how to raise the baby and what to do. It's very frustrating. The only nice thing about the situation is no one seems to judge her for being a single mother. I do like that. But from a feminist perspective, it's a very frustrating movie.



I think that one of the hardest things about growing older is discovering that movies you love don't always hold up to your scrutiny and values as you grow older. Does anyone else have that problem?

But, don't let me discourage you from watching it. It is a very funny movie and there are some fine performances all around.



Oh, and quick aside: the character of the landlady is absolutely wonderful. She's amazing throughout the story and is definitely my favorite (aside from Polly - she's a great character too). Basically, most of the women in this movie are great and most of the men are awful. So, if nothing else, watch it for the women characters. 😊